A growing number of intelligence agents were concerned about the president’s apparent indifference to the health risks they face when traveling with him in public, and some responded indignantly at the trip asking how Trump’s desire to be seen outside his hospital suite be established the danger to agents protecting the president. The president’s coronavirus diagnosis has already put his lax approach to social distancing to the test as public health officials scramble to track down those he may have exposed at major personal events.
“Where are the adults?” said a former member of the secret service.
They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
White House spokesman Judd Deere defended the excursion, telling reporters that “in carrying out this movement, reasonable precautions were taken to protect the president and all who support him”. Deere said precautions included personal protective equipment without providing further details, adding that the trip “was approved as safe by the medical team”.
The White House did not immediately respond to questions from the Washington Post on Sunday evening.
Trump wore a mask as he waved to a crowd from the back of his vehicle after announcing that he would “give some of the great patriots we have on the streets a little surprise”. But the face covering was of little comfort to doctors who turned to Twitter to criticize the trip as irresponsible. Masks “help, but they’re not an impenetrable force field,” tweeted Saad B. Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health.
Among the critics was a doctor associated with Walter Reed.
“Every single person in the vehicle must be quarantined for 14 days during this completely unnecessary drive by the president,” tweeted James P. Phillips, who is also a professor at George Washington University. “You could get sick. You can die. For political theater. Ordered by Trump to put her life in danger for the theater. This is madness. “
Phillips said the risk of virus transmission in cars was “as high as outside medical procedures.” Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, noted that people in a hospital wear extensive protective clothing – gowns, gloves, N95 masks, and more – when in close contact with a coronavirus patient like Trump .
“By taking a pleasure ride outside Walter Reed, the president is putting his intelligence detail at great risk,” he tweeted.
Trump was upset that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows claimed he was not good at fighting the virus, according to campaign and White House officials.
“The president’s vital signs for the past 24 hours have been very worrying, and the next 48 hours will be critical to his maintenance,” Meadows said Saturday afternoon, in sharp contrast to doctors who had offered rosy reviews at an earlier press conference. “We are still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
Later that day, Meadows said Trump’s condition had improved significantly but claimed the president was “out of the woods,” Trump’s doctor repeated.
Trump’s outing Sunday came when White House officials acknowledged the president’s health deteriorated to the point where he was receiving extra oxygen, which they had not previously disclosed. Trump’s doctor, Sean Conley, said Sunday he was “trying to reflect the optimistic attitude the team, the president, had during his illness”.
“Looks matter right now,” said a senior executive near Meadows, adding, “Strength and resilience are vital. For the American public, but also for those watching overseas. “